I see you with that back to school ad mama. I also see your concern about your bank account and the giant pile of curriculum books that you are avoiding. August starts next week and let’s face it, everyone is talking about going back to school. Everywhere you look things are moving towards fall at the speed of light. I’m pretty sure that this summer I blinked and it was over. Previous years I feel like we had plenty of time to do all the things but this year has been overfull in ways that have been amazing and some not so fun but here we are approaching August, tax-free weekend in Ohio and the start of school. Stores around here have had their displays up for a couple of weeks now and the ads are coming into my email box faster than I can delete them.

Am I overwhelmed about the new year? Nope. Is everything Pinterest ready? Far from it. Do we have boxes and bags of new supplies? No way. What about curriculum, is everything settled and ready to go in a moment? Absolutely not. And before you start with the “I’m Type A” excuse, you all have never met a more Type A, OCD mom in your life than I am. But I’ve learned a few things over the last few years.

First, homeschooling and preparing for the homeschool year isn’t meant to be too much, overwhelming or stressful. Relax, make sure your notification is sent in on time, and keep taking small steps forward.

Second, starting a homeschooling year does not need to look like a traditional school year start. There isn’t a meet the teacher night. No one needs to see your neatly labeled files and bins by the first day of school or ever. Now, I’m all for labeling the bins so the kids can find things but you’ll find me labeling as I go even up into April.

Third, new supplies are overrated. Yes, we buy what we need to replace but I spend far less and have less clutter when I replace what we need when we need it rather than trying to stock up or guess at the beginning of each school year – yes, even when I have to pay full price for things at another time in the year.

Fourth, curriculum is meant to serve you not enslave you. Sometimes this means reading it through as you come to it. Sometimes this means prepping a little at a time. Sometimes this means getting yourself a mommy’s helper for a day or sending the kids with dad on an adventure or even better yet let them help get things ready – they are perfectly capable of sharpening pencils or sorting student pages from curriculum binders into appropriate places.

Fifth, our stress in trying to get all the things ready actually ruins the rest of the time you do have to soak up the sun, extra freedom, and playing with one another. Do you really want to miss that?

In all time flying, snag those last summer moments. Don’t miss out. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the “perfect plan” and “brand new everything.” Consider what you are spending. Is it your time? Is it extra money? Is it your patience reserve? Make sure you are being a good steward of all the things. Keep it smart. Keep it simple. Keep it true to your family.